I like to learn something new every day, to see something beautiful, and to be inspired by thoughts, ideas, and the perspective of others.
While my day is filled with responsibility, I try to find a few minutes every day to focus on this, and the easiest way to do this is by listening to TED Talks.
We can even choose what type of talk we’re looking for: courageous, inspiring, beautiful, informative, and so on. We can choose the length of time we have available to listen, and I have never been let down by a choice I’ve made. I always end the talks feeling like I’ve learned something, had a view challenged, or simply felt uplifted.
When we need that lift or want to work on our personal development, these are 10 TED Talks that should top your list:
1. How to See Past Your Own Perspective and Find Truth by Michael Patrick Lynch. This is for the truth-seekers, the ones who pursue knowledge for its own sake. It’s also for anyone who has ever had a difference of opinion with someone else (so pretty much everyone, everywhere). It posits the idea that we cannot know truth if we’re not willing to take the risk that the answers we find don’t agree with our own preconceived ideas. How can we get beyond our own perspective and get to the truth?
2. The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown. I have listened to this so many times! I love her openness and her ability to convey that our vulnerability is not, in fact, a weakness but one of our greatest strengths. I would recommend this talk to anyone, but it’s particularly powerful for people who are dealing with change.
3. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is an amazing talk that perfectly explains feminism, why it’s needed, and why everyone, male and female, should identify as feminists. It’s smart, sharp, humorous, and so incredibly insightful. I recommend this for anyone who doesn’t identify as feminist. I dare you to challenge that belief system with this amazing talk. For a companion piece, see Caroline Paul’s To Raise Brave Girls, Encourage Adventure.
4. The Price of Shame by Monica Lewinsky. This talk delves into the pervasive culture of online bullying and how damaging it can be to a person’s life. Lewinsky addresses this issue with sensitivity, vulnerability, humor, and honesty and gives a real-life perspective on how detrimental these behaviors are to others. (As a companion to this talk, check out Ashley Judd’s How Online Abuse of Women Has Spiraled Out of Control.
5. Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe me, I’m a Model by Cameron Russell. I love how Russell addresses self-esteem issues and the importance of body positivity. She shares her own experience of being vulnerable to the opinions of others and feeling dissatisfied with her body despite career successes and talks about ways to address this.
6. The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie’s perspective provides so much insight. She looks into the heart of how a single story about any one person can be dangerous, how it opens the door to prejudice, and does not tell the whole story. With the recent news on transgender rights and immigration, I recommend this heartily to everyone. A companion talk to this should be Jude Kelly’s Why Women Should Tell the Stories of Humanity.
7. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth. I found this to be incredibly inspiring. Instead of I.Q. or other performance factors being predictors of success, the key ingredient just may be grit. This talk is perfect for anyone facing challenges that seem insurmountable.
8. How to Stay Calm When You Know You’ll be Stressed by Daniel Levitin. Levitin suggests ways that we can prepare ourselves for stress before it comes with a pre-mortem. By addressing the possible failures, we just might be able to stay calm when the stress hits. I found this talk fascinating and just what might be needed for anyone who regularly deals with anxiety.
9. 3 Ways to Spot a Bad Statistic by Mona Chalabi. This insightful talk clues us into the science of statistics and how to spot when a study isn’t accurate. Pair this one with Stephanie Busari’s How Fake News Does Real Harm. These are for the truth seekers who are more concerned with truth than with being right.
10. Say Your Truths and Seek Them In Others by Elizabeth Lesser. Lesser delves into interpersonal relationships and the necessity of being completely vulnerable in those relationships in order to have more authentic relationships. This is for those who need courage and want to improve their relationships. Perhaps add How to Make Hard Choices by Ruth Chang to this in order to help bolster that courage.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Urban Data/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman